Willing to Try
It had gotten a lot more physical. Inuyasha was amazed by how far they'd gotten with this bond of theirs in only a week. Truth was, he was more and more at a loss about how to hide his growing feelings for the small miracle woman that was Kagome from her. And maybe he was biased, or maybe it was wishful thinking, but times like this, when they were sitting next to each other, her head on his shoulder, their eyes glued to the television screen watching an intense show, he could swear she felt something for him, in return. He could almost feel a sizzling pressure in the air, like a weight suffocating them both, like a secret needing to be exposed, but still too premature for such a step. Her hand, small and gentle, it rested on his thigh, squeezing it at times, when the unpredictability of the show got the best of her reflexes.
Tonight more than usual, he was on edge.
It wasn't just her scent that was teasing him into having dirty thoughts. The way she smiled, like she knew something he didn't, it caught his eyes and gripped his heart, making it jump around in his chest.
He remembered these feelings from before. They were new and empowering and exciting, but they were dangerous and uncertain.
He was entering unguarded territory and it made him feel vulnerable, like his heart was laid out in the open, available for public scrutiny.
It could only be viewed as bad luck, how when he fell, he always fell hard. The last thing he wanted was a repeat of Kikyou, and even further from his wish-list was a broken heart. Yet the feelings growing roots inside of him challenged even those he'd had for Kikyou, and it was more than enough to scare an adult male out of a relationship, much less him out of this... friendship-thing they'd developed.
But as much as he sometimes felt like fleeing, he remembered Kagome was in danger, and he remembered whose fault it was.
I'm such an idiot.
He looked at her and chuckled at the sight of her closed eyes. Even asleep she was so beautiful.
Gently, he picked her up and tried to ignore the loose grip of her arms around his neck until he placed her on the bed, under warm covers.
Lately, he'd taken to sleeping on the couch, for Kagome's sake. She deserved proper comfort, especially now that she couldn't have that of her own apartment.
The two hundred and twenty year old half demon stopped dead in his tracks right before opening the door.
It can't be.
The sleep-induced mumble of his name tumbling off her lips wasn't something uncommon, he'd learned the past week, but the moan following it certainly was. And if figuring out the nature of the sound wouldn't be hard for a human, the scent surrounding this woman and what it did to Inuyasha's hanyou senses surely pinpointed the kind of dream Kagome was having. About him.
Gulping uneasily, Inuyasha tried to fight his more demonic instincts that were rising to the surface. In the past week he'd kept telling himself that the visions of them together like a mated pair had just been luxurious concoctions of his overactive imagination driven by the frustrations of a love-deprived life, but this was getting serious, because the minute her amazing scent started gradually chasing away everything human in him, the very second he was placed face-to-face with the option of making Kagome his, he felt as though snapping would be inevitable. He wanted to snap. Not only that, but his blood was infatuated with the idea of possessing her, and it showed in the hanyou's reddening eyes.
Dammit. Back down. Back. Down.
But it wouldn't, and so Inuyasha was forced into a decision that he may later regret, but it was the only thing he could do at the moment, since running away and leaving her defenseless was not an option.
Against his better judgment, the hanyou walked to the side of her – actually, his – bed, and hovered above her, shaking her shoulder gently.
"Kagome? Wake up. You have to get up."
When she leaned into his hand he almost panicked, but an emerging protectiveness towards her drove him to want to keep her safe from himself above anything else.
So he insisted.
"Kagome, I know you don't want to, but wake up. Hey," he shook her, "wake up. Now."
Maybe it was the motion or maybe it was his grave tone with a distinctively demonic quality that made her eyes open abruptly, but he didn't care about reasons.
His first instinct was to breathe relieved now that she was aware of herself and of him, but the scent of her arousal persisted, he noticed, and it was not how he'd envisioned this. His eyes rolled into the back of his head in a display of brief weakness, but Kagome saw it even in the dim light.
"Inuyasha? What's wrong?"
"What were you dreaming about?"
"Your dream... what was it about?"
Kagome's eyes nearly crossed in an attempt to remember any dreams she might've had, but then flashing scenes of torrid lovemaking revealed herself and the man in front of her in quite a lot of positions. A wave of heat spread throughout her entire body and she realized he was probably as aware of it by now as she was, if his tortured expression was any indication.
"I don't know what you want from me," she told him squarely.
"I don't know, either. On a second thought, don't tell me," he said, pulling away to leave the room as the pheromones surrounding Kagome were wreaking more and more havoc on his already thin self-control.
"Hey, stop. Look at me." Grabbing his face with her hands before he could escape, she forced his gaze to focus on hers. "Just... tell me what's wrong, Inuyasha."
She was going to force it out of him. They both knew what the problem was, but that didn't mean they were on the same wavelength about dealing with it.
He wanted to repress it. She wanted to hear it.
"The timing's not right," he complained, looking much like a man in agony. It was right about then that she realized how much it bothered him. It had to go deeper than just her dream. He was likely going to admit to much more than just being affected by her arousal. The thought unleashed dozens of ideas that had crossed her mind for the past weak.
If she was honest with herself, the dream was no coincidence.
It had started quite unexpectedly. She'd been attracted to him since before, but living with him, experiencing a softer, homey side of Inuyasha that only she was privy to, watching his towel-only covered body after showering, they all piled up and the outcome was inevitable.
He was lucky all she'd done was dream, because she could have just pounced.
Breathing deeply, Kagome grabbed his hand to pull him into a seated position on the bed next to her, and without having to say the words, he understood immediately.
"Do you really want to pretend like we already had this talk?"
When he didn't answer, she looked him straight in the eyes, saying firmly, "I want you to tell me what's bothering you."
Oddly, she couldn't shake the residual heat left over from the dream, and she could see how it affected him. Wiping his sweaty forehead with her palm, she waited for him to find his words.
It was something they were going to have to get out in the open if they wanted to live together for a while. She couldn't just turn off her emotions, and apparently neither could he.
"Tell me," she coaxed, and he looked away.
"I brought you here after you fell asleep on the couch. I was gonna leave you there, but then I figured you were sleeping deeply enough that carrying you to my room wouldn't wake you up. I was right," he said and looked back at her, the burn in his gaze stealing her breath.
His heart was racing crazily when she bit her lower lip expectantly.
"And then you moaned my name."
Color rushed to Kagome's cheeks, but not from embarrassment. He realized this when a strong whiff of the intimate scent he'd come to know as her arousal slapped him across the face with renewed intensity. Without permission, a groan of matching desire left his lips, drawing her attention to them.
It was a moment like in the movies, with both of them so in tune with each other, their gazes glued to the other's lips, both waiting for wheels to be set in motion.
But neither made a move and soon the fog lifted, making Kagome gulp and look away as Inuyasha exhaled deeply.
"We're not very good at this," she said, looking back at him with a small smile, realizing how ridiculous they were, sitting there and shutting up.
"No, we're not," he agreed, but didn't offer more. He'd wanted some time to sort out his feelings before letting her know them. Everything seemed to happen too fast, even though he'd had months to analyze her affect on him. Still, he wasn't ready for any life-changing decisions right now. The wound left by Kikyou's death was still too raw, the memory of his failure to protect what was his was too fresh, and he couldn't allow himself to develop another bond that could be severed in a flash. "Maybe we should think this through first. I don't know, feels kinda like we're rushing it."
"We're not," she shook her head. "If we're not honest with each other right now, things'll keep piling up. First it's gonna get awkward, and then who knows what's gonna happen. We need to talk about it, Inuyasha."
Grunting in annoyance, he crossed his arms against his chest.
"Fine, I'll go first," Kagome offered, desperately trying to remain calm herself. Inside, she was a tempest dying to be unleashed, but she would keep her cool as long as she was on a mission to get him to talk. Breathing deeply, she started, "When I was in Africa I had a hard time dodging Kouga's advances all the time."
"What's Kouga have to do with us?"
"Bear with me for a while, ok? As I was saying, Kouga was extremely insistent, he wouldn't take no for an answer, until I told him I already had a boyfriend." Looking him straight in the eyes, Kagome swallowed thickly. "When I told him that, it was you I had in mind." Before he could cower away at her admission, she hurried to explain. "Seems to me we've become very close, Inuyasha, and I know I'm not the only one to feel that way. I keep trying to remember how it was like when you were just this annoying taxi driver I kept bumping into and I was this whiny kid with no experience of life, but the truth is I can't. I can't look at you and not have at least a tiny rush of something exhilarating, and I can't turn my back on it, pretending I don't feel like I do, because I like it. I like how sometimes you make my heart race and I like how I sometimes make it hard for you to breathe. You wanna know what else I liked?"
Inching closer to him, Kagome almost laughed at his expression. It was so obvious he was restraining himself from pinning her against the bed that even a blind man could surely notice it.
"The dream I had about us last night," she said, "I liked it."
Inuyasha gulped loudly and cursed mentally, realizing how little control he had over his actions at that moment. He wanted to tell Kagome that he felt the same way, but he also wanted to tell her that unlike her, he was far from being able to have a calm conversation. His blood was boiling inside his veins, filling him with scorching fire as her scent tickled his senses mercilessly, and he was powerless to stop the surge of emotion.
"Look," she sighed, "all I'm saying is, you shouldn't hide it. We don't have to do anything about it right now, just let it be and see where it takes us, but I don't want you to hide it. We can't be one of those people who feel something for each other, but they never say a word – that's tragic. Just... don't put up a mask, ok?"
"Fine, but let's take it slowly," he suggested, his face visibly more relaxed.
"My thoughts exactly," she agreed with a smile, pulling back under the covers and patting the bed next to her. "Join me?"
"How's that taking things slow?" he asked, cocking a seemingly casual eyebrow, but otherwise unable to disguise his growing excitement.
"I meant, sleep next to me, Inuyasha, I didn't say, 'Let's have sex,' did I?"
Jumping to his feet as though she'd burned him, the half demon rushed for the door, stopping right before opening it.
"You don't know what you're saying, Kagome. We wanted to take it slow, we take it slow. There's no in between, ok? For me, there's no in between."
And that was as much as he was willing to confess before he left her room – his, really – to sleep on the couch, which was much safer.
But at least he knew he had a foundation to lay the bricks on now.